Ah, Ancient Egypt, with its Pharaohs, pyramids, tombs and mummies! The mystics, mysteries, and men have fascinated us to such an extent that the stories of ancient Egypt survived thousands of years. It is said that Egypt was one of the greatest civilizations of the past, and the monuments, as well as tombs of their Pharaohs, continue to stand strong today, 4,000 years later!
Join us as we venture 4,000 years back in time to discover fascinating facts about Ancient Egypt.
- Pharaoh comes from a word meaning “great house” which describes a palace or a kingdom. Pharaohs were considered to be the supreme leaders of the land and were equivalent to kings or emperors. They ruled both parts of Egypt, upper and lower, and were seen as political as well as religious leaders of the land.
- Pharaohs wore a crown which had an image of the cobra goddess. It is believed that only the Pharaoh was allowed to wear the cobra goddess as she protected him by spitting flames at the enemy!
- The largest pyramid built is The Great Pyramid of Giza which was built by Pharaoh Khufu. It is known to be the oldest of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
- The River Nile played an important role in shaping the lives and society of Ancient Egypt as it provided the Ancient Egyptians with food, transportation, and building materials! It would have been hard to imagine life without the River Nile back then!
- The second longest river in the world is the River Nile, which spans over 4,100 miles! It is located in northeast Africa and flows through a number of African countries such as Egypt (duh!), Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Burundi.
- September of each year saw the Nile overflow its banks and flood surrounding areas. While this might sound like a bad thing, hold your horses, it turned out to be one of the most important events in the life of the ancient Egyptians. The flood brought with it rich black soil that renewed the surrounding farmlands.
- The ancient Egyptians considered the rich black soil from the floods very valuable which is why it came to be known as the Gift of the Nile. The Egyptians called the Nile ‘Aur’, which means black and comes from, well, the black soil!
- The ancient Egyptians believed that the floods were caused by the tears of the goddess Isis as she cried for her dead husband Osiris! The real cause, however, was the heavy rains and melting snow to the south near the source of the Nile.
- The afterlife was extremely important to the Egyptians. They believed that by preserving a person’s body, their soul would live on in the afterlife forever. This is why they mummified the dead! Very important people were often placed in a beautifully decorated stone coffin called a sarcophagus.
- Both Egyptian women and men wore make-up! The eye-paint was green in colour and was made from copper, or black in colour which was made from lead. In addition to offering protection from the sun, the Egyptians believed that makeup had magical healing powers as well!
- Cats were considered to be a sacred animal by the Ancient Egyptians and it is believed that most families kept a cat as a pet as they thought it would bring the household good luck!
- Do you love playing board games? So did the ancient Egyptians! A popular game was Senet which was played for over 2,000 years. The game involved throwing sticks, which is similar to how we throw dice, to see how many squares to move your piece forward on the board.
- Egypt is home to a wide variety of animals, including cheetahs, crocodiles, cobras and hyenas! Egypt’s wildlife thrives in 21 protected regions which include deserts, mountains, coastal areas, wetlands and river islands.
- When it came to upkeep, Pharaohs kept their faces clean shaven, but that doesn’t add up to the pictures that we see of them, now does it? That’s because they wore fake beards for religious purposes. Incidentally, even the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut wore a fake beard while she ruled!
- Until the age of six, children didn’t wear any clothing! Can you imagine what that might be like in today’s times?
- Ancient Egyptians ate bread that was so rough it caused their teeth to wear away.
- A lot of the things that we use today, such as pens, paper, locks, keys, and incidentally, toothpaste too, were invented by the ancient Egyptians.
- The ancient Egyptians believed in over 2,000 deities. They had gods for everything, right from dangers to chores, you name it! Each one has different responsibilities and needed to be worshipped for balance in life.
- The bandages of an ancient Egyptian mummy once unwrapped could stretch for over 1.6km! Now, that’s a lot of wrapping wouldn’t you say?
- Over the past few thousands of years, many Egyptian mummies have unfortunately been destroyed in quite interesting ways. Some were ground to a powder which was used to make magical potions, some destroyed by treasure hunters and some even burned for fuel!
Hopefully, these 20 facts let you rewind 4,000 years back to the life and times of the ancient Egyptians. Tell us which fact caught you by surprise the most!